Best Places to Stay in and near Yellowstone National Park

Do you want to know the best places to stay in Yellowstone National Park?

I have been there with my family numerous times and stayed at a variety of locations. These useful tips are sure to help you make the most of your journey. We will look at the best places to stay near Yellowstone National Park if you’re on a tighter budget. One thing is for sure if you’re heading to Yellowstone NP, book early.

yellowstone entrances sign
Yellowstone National Park Entrance

The best Yellowstone lodging can be costly and fills up often a year in advance. That’s especially true during peak seasons, but there are some excellent choices. Accommodations in West Yellowstone or Gardner, MT, are certainly among them. Gardner is just outside the park at the north entrance of Yellowstone. It’s an ideal location for visiting Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Geyser Basin and Lamar Valley. So, let’s dig in and look at the following:

  • Yellowstone NP location and its features
  • Best places to stay in Yellowstone National Park Wyoming on a large or small budget
  • Best time to visit Yellowstone National Park Wy
  • National parks near Yellowstone

What State is Yellowstone National Park Located in?

bison wildlife
Yellowstone Bison

If you’ve never been to Yellowstone, you will not be disappointed. Do you love being in nature, viewing unique wildlife and outdoor activities? If so, this will be the trip of a lifetime! I have been going there occasionally for the last 40 years and I’m still in awe when I visit. We love taking our three daughters. As a family, it’s a special time together apart from the crazy schedules, traffic and electronics!

old faithful geyser
Old Faithful Geyser: Close proximity to the West entrance of the park

Best known for its geothermal features and wildlife, it contains over half the world’s geysers. Established March 1, 1872, it’s widely known as the first national park in the world. You may even wonder where is Yellowstone National Park located? Although most of the park resides in Wyoming it covers almost 3,500 square miles across three states: Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Check out this great map of the park at the Yellowstone NPS. With over 2 million acres worth of nature, it is one of the country’s largest national parks. It also boasts some of the greatest biodiversity in the world!

Why Visit NP Yellowstone?

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

The History and culture of Yellowstone are rich and recreational opportunities endless. Some of the activities you can enjoy are hiking, camping, boating, fishing, and sightseeing. Although it has many types of biomes, the subalpine forest is most prevalent. The lakes are beautiful. There’s also a number of canyons, rivers and mountain ranges to explore and hike.

Humans have inhabited the region for thousands of years. First by indigenous Native American’s and then American settlers. There are several well-preserved archaeological sites within the park documenting the history of the people who lived here. For over a century, it has been a popular tourist destination for people from around the world. Once you visit, you will likely consider it one of your favorite NPs.

Best Time of Year to Visit Wyoming

wolf in yellowstone
Majestic wolf….reintroduced to the Yellowstone Park in 1995

September is a great time to visit! It’s the shoulder season and lodging costs are lower. This is our personal favorite time of year there. The crowds and traffic are mostly gone, and the weather is beautiful. Early October can be nice as well but an early snowstorm can close the park at a moment’s notice. Early spring can be wet and soggy with snowmelt and impassable hikes due to snow. Of course, late spring is great for seeing some of the newly birthed wildlife. Summer can be quite hot and the crowds and traffic on the one-lane roads is challenging.

yellowstone river
Yellowstone River

Best Places To Stay In Yellowstone National Park

There are plenty of different options for a hotel both in and near the park. However, it depends on what you want to spend most of your time doing. There are some places that are ideal if you have a larger budget. If, however, you are on a tighter budget, there are some great options. I’ll touch on a few hotel locations but the official Yellowstone NP site is a great reference. Our personal preference is to spend a few days each at different locations. That allows us to conveniently make the most of each distinct area of the park. Let’s discuss some of these choices and their benefits.

Large Budget Stays in Yellowstone

Old Faithful Snow Lodge

On the east side of the park, Old Faithful Snow Lodge is one of the most popular places to stay inside Yellowstone. Fitted with geothermal heating, the floors will keep you warm even when it’s freezing outside. Enjoy the view from your rooms as you stare out over the expansive pristine landscape. Completed in 1999, this is the newest hotel located inside the park. They have full-service dining and it’s only a four-minute walk to the Old Faithful geyser. If you’re wanting to see many of Yellowstone’s geysers, this is an ideal location!

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel

elk at mammoth hot springs
Elk near Mammoth Hot Springs; home of Yellowstone NPS headquarters

On the north side, Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel is another fantastic choice to spend a few days. It is nearby the hot springs that are popularly visited by tourists throughout the year. Be sure to check their website as it’s open limited days/hours. The hotel is great. It has all of the accommodations of any modern hotel. It was remodeled in 2019 and its location makes it perfect for observing wildlife right from your room. Every time I’ve visited this part of the park, there are countless Elk roaming the property. You are also within walking distance of ski opportunities in the winter. Another benefit of this location is it’s great for visiting the area most popular for wildlife viewing.

Lake Yellowstone Hotel

Lake Yellowstone Hotel is a little pricey but it’s a nice place to stay if you have a large budget. Experience a bit of history while getting the chance to stay in a refined hotel that occupies a historic building. It was originally built in the 1890s and has since been restored to its original colonial-style architecture. From the outside, you would swear that it is a colonial-style building but once you are inside of it you will be happy to experience some of the best amenities available. You will love the heated floors a suite that people like President Coolidge once stayed.

Yellowstone National Park Lodges

Yellowstone National Park Lodges official website is another great resource if you’re looking at lodging inside the park. As I mentioned earlier, staying inside the park has its advantages. Access to amenities like dinning and swimming can be found at some of Yellowstone’s lodges. They allow for a unique experience being closer to areas of the park you want to explore. Some are even within walking distance of geysers and other natural wonders YNP has to offer. Just keep in mind these are often booked up a year in advance and are more expensive.

Small Budget Stays

Old Faithful Inn is located near the Old Faithful geyser and is among the best lodging inside the park. If you want to get a place here, you will need to plan in advance. A year out is ideal. It is very affordable and comfortable.

old faithful inn lodging
Old Faithful Inn: Walking distance to Old Faithful Geyser

It’s a log and stone structure originally built in the early 1900s. Interestingly, it’s considered to be the largest wooden structure in the world. The massive fireplace that you find inside of the lobby gives it a great ambiance where you can listen to live music. Tip: The OF Inn is a must-see! Stop by to get some ice cream and take in the spectacular view from the balcony! Even if you don’t stay here, it’s well worth the visit.

Lewis Lake Campground is perfect for people that want the least expensive option. If you’re looking for a camping experience, this offers some nice benefits. You can camp in a tent or RV for campers under 25’. Like most campgrounds, you are allowed to have wood and charcoal fires. Considering you are right next to Lewis Lake there are plenty of options for fun activities. There’s great fishing, boating and swimming.

Grant Village is another great option for a budget stay. Open seasonally, it’s a great central location for sight-seeing, especially wildlife and the geysers. There is a pier that will allow you to look out over the lake. Note: keep in mind there is no air conditioning so it can be a tough stay in the middle of summer. On a positive note, you are only 3 miles away from several geysers including the Abyss Pool hot spring.

Want a Home Away From Home?

If you’re looking to stay at least 3+ days near Yellowstone, I would highly recommend a home through VRBO or Air BnB. Gardiner, MT is a great place to stay to visit the north side of the park. They have shopping, dining as well as horseback riding and whitewater rafting. You can find some VRBO options in Gardiner here.

Places to see and things to do Near YNP

There are some great visits nearby Yellowstone Park. On our visits there, we usually make time to spend a night or two in Jackson Hole, WY. Some of our other favorite visits near the park are Grand Teton, West Yellowstone, Cody, and Bozeman, MT.

Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole wy parque nacional de yellowstone
Our 3 daughters….Jackson Hole town square

We love Jackson Hole! This is an incredibly popular tourist destination in the state of Wyoming. It is well-known for its beautiful mountains, ski resorts and entertainment. Some of the best snowboarding, ziplining, and skiing in the country can be found here. It has a beautiful, nostalgic Western-style town square that takes you back in time. There are unique features like a raised wooden walkway and cowboy bars. There is also a great place to take a family portrait dressed up in Western clothing. The square also features an arch on either side made out of elk horns. It’s a great place to snap some photos. Also, it’s a great place to stay if you want to visit one of the most breathtaking national parks in the country, Grand Teton NP. It’s less than 35 minutes to the park and the drive there is extraordinarily beautiful.

Grand Teton National Park

grand teton national park near yellowstone  wy
Grand Teton: one of the most photographed scenes in the park

The Grand Tetons offer some of the most picturesque scenery in the world. This rugged mountain range stretches as high as 13,775 ft. Of all the parks in the country, this is definitely one of my favorites. There are over 1,000 drive-in campsites, rare wildlife, numerous lakes and more than 200 miles of hiking. You can also find some of the best trout fishing in the world. One of our favorite activities here is picnicking by one of the pristine lakes. It’s only about an hour south of the south entrance to Yellowstone. A must-see if you’re visiting Yellowstone!

West Yellowstone Accommodations

One of the best places to stay near Yellowstone National Park is West Yellowstone. As for entrances to Yellowstone, the west entrance is ideal to visit most of the geysers. This location is one of our favorites for being close to all the geysers. There are great places to stay in West Yellowstone and it’s less than 1 mile outside the park. Also, West Yellowstone accommodations are more affordable and convenient to a variety of restaurants and entertainment. The Playmill Theatre is great if you’re interested in seeing a live play. The hotels are within walking distance to all the dining and entertainment in town. This is a great option if you want to spend time visiting the geysers in the park.


If you are a history buff, you would love a visit to Cody, Wyoming. A popular town during the gold-mining rush over 100 years ago, it has some well-preserved mining. You can also stop by the “Buffalo Bill” Cody Museum. Only 50 miles away from Yellowstone National Park, it’s a great place to check out. This is one of the best places to stay near Yellowstone National Park to visit the east side of the park. Some benefits include the wildlife in Lamar Valley, Lake Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.


Staying on the northside of the park at Mammoth Hot Springs or Gardiner, MT? Bozeman is a nice visit and is only a little over an hour away. It’s a great location to either fly in to visit Yellowstone or just to stock up at the local store. You will also find plenty of options for shopping, entertainment, dinning and recreation here. And if you’re flying in here, stock up on essentials since the options are limited around the park.


I may be a little biased, but Yellowstone Park and the Grand Tetons National Park is at the top of our travel list. It allows us to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and soak in some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Our daughters have very fond memories of our times there bonding as a family.

We have reviewed the best places to stay in or near Yellowstone National Park and surrounding areas. Outside the park, our favorites include accommodations in West Yellowstone, Gardiner and Jackson Hole. Whether you’re looking at Yellowstone National Park lodging nearby or inside the park, there are plenty of choices. For us, ever visit has been an unforgettable experience. There are plenty of great options for camping, RVing, or lodging to fit your preference or budget.     

Again, the NPS and Yellowstone National Park Wyoming official sites offer some great insights. So, as you plan out your trip of a lifetime!

Want a FREE complete list and recap of all our US National Parks as well as downloadable maps and other great resources? Check out our US National Parks List and Map guide!

national parks map and list printable checklist
Visit our complete National Parks Guide for FREE Downloadable National Parks List & Map (multiple versions)


What city is best to stay in when visiting Yellowstone?

The city of West Yellowstone is often considered the best place to stay when visiting Yellowstone National Park. It’s located right at the park’s west entrance and offers easy access to the park’s main attractions, including Old Faithful Geyser and the Grand Prismatic Spring .

Is it better to stay in Yellowstone or outside?

Staying outside the park, like in West Yellowstone or Gardiner, can be more convenient and affordable. Inside the park, accommodations are limited and can be more expensive, but it offers the advantage of being closer to some iconic sights.

Where do you stay when you go to Yellowstone National Park?

When you visit Yellowstone National Park, you can stay in lodges inside the park itself or in nearby towns like West Yellowstone, Gardiner, or Cody. These towns offer various lodging options for different budgets.

Is it better to stay on the east or west side of Yellowstone?

Both sides have their perks. The west side (West Yellowstone) is closer to popular geysers and features, while the east side (Cody) offers access to the scenic Yellowstone Lake. Choose based on which attractions you prioritize.

Where do most people stay when they visit Yellowstone?

Most people choose to stay in West Yellowstone. It’s a popular gateway with many lodging options, restaurants, and shops, making it a convenient base for exploring the park.

How to stay in Yellowstone?

You can stay in lodges, cabins, or campsites within the park. Lodges offer more amenities but can be pricier. Reservations are usually needed well in advance, especially for the busy summer season.

How many days do you need in Yellowstone National Park?

Spending at least 3 to 4 days in Yellowstone is recommended to see the main attractions without feeling rushed. This allows you to explore the diverse landscapes and wildlife at a comfortable pace.

Do people live in Yellowstone year-round?

No, Yellowstone is primarily a national park and not meant for permanent residence. However, some staff and researchers do live in the park year-round, mainly in the Mammoth Hot Springs area.

Are there private homes in Yellowstone National Park?

Yellowstone is primarily designated for public use and conservation, so private homes within the park are extremely limited. Most accommodations are provided by the park lodges.

Is Yellowstone a good place to live?

While it’s a wonderful place to visit, living in Yellowstone is not feasible for most people due to its protected status and extreme weather conditions. However, nearby towns can offer a compromise between proximity to the park and practical living.

Where do Yellowstone workers live?

Many Yellowstone workers live in shared dormitory-style housing provided by the park. These housing options are usually located within or near the park’s various facilities and visitor centers.

About Me

My husband and I have three precious daughters and live in the Kansas City, KS area. One of our favorite things to do is travel across the country visiting our extraordinary US National Parks!

Let us know what you think about our content and if you have any questions, suggestions, or have any favorite memories or tips you would like to share. We would love to hear from you!

Happy Travels! Sandy

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